Presenting... The World's Smallest 3D Printer

<p>Two researchers in Vienna have thrown down the gauntlet.</p>

There’s nothing like putting “World’s smallest/largest/loudest, etc…” in front of something to pique people’s interest. Superlatives aside, this new micro-sized 3D printer model might be a solution for all your 3D printing cottage industry needs—especially if you don’t fancy building your own, or have room (and money) for one of the industrial behemoths. This midget printer weighs in at 1.5kg, is smaller than a shoebox and was made by Markus Hatzenbichler and Klaus Stadlmann, researchers at the Vienna University of Technology. It’ll still set you back €1,200 which, in fairness, is relatively cheap in the world of 3D printers, and it’ll mean you can start the 3D printing revolution right from your home—from your dining room table, even.

Download designs from the internet, or create your own, and you’re all set to begin printing all kinds of bespoke miniature items like jewelery, small fixtures or parts, or tiny representations of famous starships from your favorite sci-fi. It works by printing the object in a tub filled with a synthetic resin—the resin is heated using LEDs, which hardens it, building the item layer by layer until you have your chosen design.

This new commercial-ready printer comes at a time when 3D printing appears to be on the verge of hitting the mainstream—even Stephen Colbert is getting into it, as was evidenced by MakerBot’s appearance on The Colbert Report earlier this week:

Although this new printer device is an impressive piece of kit, the designers aren’t going to rest on their “World’s Smallest…” laurels, hell no. Once you’ve been bitten by the “world record” bug, you’re hooked, or so it seems. Klaus Stadlmann says, “We will continue to reduce the size of the printer, and the price will definitely decrease too, if it is produced in large quantities.” So, hopefully, we can look forward to a future where we’re walking around with 3D printer keyrings in our pockets, making custom built object d’art on the fly.

[via Boing Boing]